Reformed Dogmatics (in 5 Volumes) by Geerhardus Vos

reformed-dogmaticsGeerhardus Vos lived from 1862-1949. He taught systematic theology at the Theological School of the Christian Reformed Church, later called Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 1888-1893 before becoming the chair of biblical theology at Princeton Seminary in the fall of 1893.

Published originally in Dutch as Dogmatiek in 1896, Reformed Dogmatics by Geerhardus Vos is now available in English due to the translation and editorial work of a number of people, most notably Richard Gaffin. This project will eventually be available in print from Lexham Press, the print house for Faithlife, the parent company of Logos Bible Software. Meanwhile, Logos users may purchase the digital collection of Reformed Dogmatics for their Logos library here for a fair offering. Only the first three volume are currently available. Those who purchase the five volume set of Reformed Dogmatics will receive volume four and five automatically in their Logos library as those volumes release.

From Richard Gaffin’s preface:

The Reformed Dogmatics of Gerhard’s Vos (1862-1949), here appearing for the first time in English, is a welcome publication for anyone wishing to benefit from uniformly sound and often penetrating articulation of biblical doctrine. It will be of particular interest to those who are already familiar with the work of Vos — the father of a Reformed biblical theology. Few, if any, among them have not experience a growing appreciation of his profound and singular insights into Scripture.

Some might ask what one might learn from Vos that one might not from Bavinck, or, perhaps, how might Bavinck’s systematic theology have had a bearing on Vos? Gaffin, anticipating these questions, says in the preface:

The appearance of the Reformed Dogmatics will disclose substantial affinity with the Reformed Dogmatics of Herman Bavinck. This is to be expected, since the slightly younger Vos (by seven years) considered Bavinck a good friend as well as a close theological ally. The first volume of Bavinck’s work (in Dutch), however, did not appear until 1895, after Vos’ Grand Rapids period. Perhaps the later volumes of the Reformed Dogmatics will shed more light on the question of the influences on Vos’ work.

Over the past month I’ve had sufficient time to work with the first three volumes and glean from them. Vos’s Reformed Dogmatics is exceptional. His line of thinking stems from a profound grasp on logic that is systematically deployed to unfold the riches of God’s revelation. This skill of logic I sense is lost, or minimally rare, in present approaches of delivering systematic theology.

As a reader of this set, I can almost imagine Vos in the classroom posing questions like: “In what way must proof for the Trinity be provided from the New Testament?” (i.3.3) or “Can one prove from the Scripture that the Mediator is truly God?” (iii.3.4). I imagine students painstakingly wrestling with these questions until Vos kindly and mercifully supplies the responses to these questions, responses that he has carefully worked out and corroborated with Scripture and reason.

This set is surely a diamond that has been cleaned and cut by the skillful hands of Richard Gaffin. If you’ve read and been impacted by Vos’s acclaimed Biblical Theology, then you will want to have this set of Reformed Dogmatics sitting alongside your volume of Biblical Theology.

Logos has put together this informative video on Vos and this systematic theology. You may view this video below.

View-Worthy: 1.29

Preview

Gay Marriage Manifesto, Being Salty, Seasons & Ministry, 24 Hour Creation?

Headliner

David Gibson. Top Catholics and Evangelicals: Gay Marriage Worse than Divorce or Cohabitation. (RNS)

A high-profile alliance of conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants is set to issue a sweeping manifesto against gay marriage that calls same-sex unions “a graver threat” than divorce or cohabitation, one that will lead to a moral dystopia in America and the persecution of traditional believers.

Deal of the day

The Unbelievable Gospel by Jonathan Dodson $3.99

Book Review

S. Lewis Johnson. Discovering Romans. Reviewed by Erik Raymond.

Links

Kathleen. Nielson. Have You Been Salty Lately? (TGC)

Recently I had lunch with a new friend, whom I loved getting to know as a sister in the Lord. When you meet someone for the first time, you’re looking to learn all you can—by observing, by listening, by observing how she listens. . . .

Andrew Wilson. Witness, Winsomeness, and Winter.

In Tim Keller’s Center Church, he identifies four “seasons” in the cycle of the church’s relation to the culture. In winter, the church faces hostility from the culture, is weak or even underground, and sees very limited evangelistic fruit (as in much of the Islamic world today). In spring, the church is embattled but growing, and signs of life are beginning to break through (as in China). In summer, the church is highly regarded in the public square, and Christians are involved at the centre of cultural production (as in parts of South America, sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific). And in autumn, the influence of the church is declining, and believers are increasingly marginalised in a post-Christian context (as in Europe and North America). Though not biblical, I see Keller’s model, adapted from Niebuhr’s The Church Against the World, as an obviously helpful one.

Four things have happened recently which have made me realise how important, and how relevant, this is to the state of the contemporary church.

Justin Taylor. Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods.

Contrary to what is often implied or claimed by young-earth creationists, the Bible nowhere directly teaches the age of the earth.

Edify

Psalm 145:4 “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”

“The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.” Martin Luther

Technology Shapes Our Reading, Be Discerning Readers

It’s remarkable how technology has changed how you receive information. In days past, you’d wake up in the morning, go to your front-step, pick up the newspaper, and read it in your recliner. But how many of you do that anymore?

Where do you get your news? I get mine from Twitter and Feedly, and I read it from my phone, tablet, or laptop. Regardless, I’m not in a recliner getting news. Usually, I’m at a desk or on the go.

I’m not a lone statistic. The Pew Research Center recently released the 11th edition of their State of the News Media study. That study revealed that print media in on the decline and digital news media consumption is on the rise.

According to the study:

“The vast majority of Americans now get news in some digital format. In 2013, 82% of Americans said they got news on a desktop or laptop and 54% said they got news on a mobile device. Beyond that, 35% reported that they get news in this way “frequently” on their desktop or laptop, and 21% on a mobile device (cellphone or tablet).”[1]

Becoming a More Literate Society

Instant and digital access to news and information has the opportunity to make you more literate. The more access you have, the more likely you will take advantage of it. But does this access make you more discerning? You may be reading more than ever with your tablet and smartphone, but are you digesting the right reading – reading that is biblical, edifying, and soul nourishing.

All this access should lead you to ask and answer some critical questions: How do you decide where you get news and what you read? How do you decide where not to get news and what not to read? How is all this reading changing and shaping you? And how do you take advantage of all this opportunity?

Judiciously Reading Literature

These days anyone can create an e-book; anyone can develop a blog; anyone can develop a platform. How should Christians be judicious in deciding who to read and who to trust?

Here are three suggestions:

Read Traditional New Sources.

The names you’ve always trusted and should trust are still around and are going to be around. In the world of Christian journalism trusted websites like Christianity.com, ChristianityToday.com, WORLDMag.com are fixtures for accurate reporting. More recent niche sources like TheGospelCoalition.org, Acton.org, and RelevantMagazine.com have entered into the foray and provide their own slant on news appealing to their particular audience. Then there are all sorts of denominational specific sources. As a Baptist, I go to two cources: the ERLC (Ethics and Religious Leadership Commission) and Al Mohler’s blog for a Baptistic slant on interpreting and responding to news and current events.

Read the Right Bloggers.

Going to bloggers for news and counsel is a new normal. But how do you know whom to read? Is the person credible? Are they trained? Is that necessary? You have to ask and research this.

Metrics like who is read most help. You can view Church Relevance April 2014 list of top 300 Christian bloggers here. There’s a reason for being read most. But that’s not always the best metric; the most popular is not always the most biblical.

You should check their education. If they are a Christian leadership voice, having formal Christian education is a reasonable expectation. Then check their vocation. Are they functioning in Christian leadership? Is the person a pastor or leader of a reputable non-for-profit organization? Check those about pages and look at those bi-lines.

Also, look for bloggers who are syndicated and appear on websites like the ones listed above. This is an indicator of trustworthiness. Large influential websites care to have the right voices championing the right messages.

Fortunately, certain names, like Tim Challies and Justin Taylor are now Christian household names. They’ve developed a reputation for dependability and credibility. For these reasons they’ve set themselves apart from other bloggers.

Rely on Trustworthy Publishing Houses and Book Reviews.

You shouldn’t just read any book. Just because anyone can write an e-book, doesn’t mean everyone should be writing one. You need to check the author’s credibility. Have they pastored long or led a non-for-profit long? Are they known for being above reproach?

Look to the best publishing houses; they’ve already filtered their authors. Look to publishing houses like Crossway, B&H, and Moody, who are known for being trustworthy and biblical. Since they’re not publicly traded, they don’t risk being bought out by secular publishers, who might then compromise their product on doctrine or Christian practice.

Also check out websites like TGC, Lifeway, Books at a Glance, and 9Marks, who offer outstanding book reviews to guide you towards edifying reading and guard you from aberrant writing.

The Christian Reader’s First Responsibility

In spite all this access to great Christian content through websites, bloggers, and digital publishing, our greatest, most important, and primary source for truth, learning, and edification remains to be the Holy Scriptures. Only they are inspired, inerrant, clear, authoritative, and sufficient for all godliness in all of life (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Technology is also shaping how we study Scripture. Bible software is becoming affordable and accessible. It’s not just for professional scholars and pastors but for moms, dads, and kids to use in homes. Companies like Logos Bible Software are doing what they can to make it that way, too, by offering payment plans, community pricing, free monthly books, and mobile education. I sometimes ask myself why every home hasn’t invested in an excellent bible software? We have Amazon Prime Accounts, Cable TV, and Netflix. We’re slighting ourselves by not taking advantage of the most beneficial technological resource Christians have access to by not being willing to invest like we do in these other resources. Even if you’re not willing to purchase Bible software for your home yet, you can still take advantage of free resources like Bible Study Tools.

Christians have a responsibility to think critically about where we retrieve news and how we consume literature. We need to go to trustworthy sources and keep our priorities straight. Hopefully, you’ve now learned a thing or two on how to do this well.

[1] State of the News Media 2014 Key Indicators in Media and News. (http://www.journalism.org/2014/03/26/state-of-the-news-media-2014-key-indicators-in-media-and-news/). Accessed 9/18/2014.

View-Worthy: 1.28.15

Preview

Women & Terrorism, Baptizing Masculinity, Marriage & Breadwinning, Human Dilemma.

Headliner

Christy Vines. Why Women Turn to Terrorism. (CT)

Long before the terror attacks in Paris and the manhunt for Hayat Boumeddiene, wife of one of the men accused of killing a police officer, women have participated as active combatants in terrorist-related violence.

Deal of the Day

God Is Love by Gerald Bray $5.99

Book Review

Elmer L. Towns. The 10 Most Influential Churches of the Last Century. Reviewed by Ed Stetzer. (Pastors.com)

Links

Luke T. Harrington. Baptizing *Masculinity*: The Real Reason Men are Leaving the Church. (CaPC)

I acknowledge this reality, but not to advocate for its destruction; I am not here to tear down evangelicalism. I dohowever, want to make the argument that when we look at our contemporary problems we ought to consider the possibility that the seeds were sown at our beginning. Consider, for instance, the much-heralded problem of menleavingtheChurch.

The dominant narrative at the moment is that, while church attendance is down across the board, men in particular are staying home on Sunday mornings (some stats here). And while there has been much hand-wringing over this reality, there has, to my knowledge, been very little serious introspection over it.

Ryan Rindels. Work: Should Husbands Make More Money than Wives? (CBMW)

Being a biblical man involves exercising leadership in all areas of life—finances included.

But can a man be the leader of his home without being the primary breadwinner? What happens when your wife makes more money than you? Is this a nonnegotiable area where no compromise is possible?

Wives who make more money than their husbands are not uncommon today. With statistically more women graduating college than men, and increased employment opportunities, many women take full-time jobs that pay well.

R. C. Sproul. If the Lord Marks Iniquity, Who Should Stand? (Ligonier)

In our day we have witnessed the eclipse of the gospel. That dark shadow that obscures the light of the gospel is not limited to Rome or liberal Protestantism; it looms heavily within the Evangelical community. The very phrase “preaching the gospel” has come to describe every form of preaching but the preaching of the gospel. The “New” gospel is one that worries not about sin. It feels no great need for justification. It readily dismisses the imputation of Christ’s righteousness as an essential need for salvation. We have substituted the “unconditional love” of God for the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. If God loves us all unconditionally, who needs the righteousness of Christ?

Edify

Psalm 62:7 “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”

“The first thing the Bible does is to make man take a serious view of life.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

View-Worthy: 1.27.15

Preview

Harris Leaves Pulpit, Asking Wrong Questions at Church, We Are Gomer, Love in Harry Potter.

Headliner

Lynde Langdon. Josh Harris Leaves Pulpit to Attend Seminary. (WORLD)

Best-selling author Joshua Harris announced Sunday he is stepping down as lead pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md., to go to seminary.

Deal of the Day

God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment by James M. Hamilton Jr. $5.99

Book Review

 J. Ryan Lister. The Presence of God. Reviewed by J. J. Sherwood.

Links

Stephen Altrogge. We’re Asking the Wrong Question When We Go to Church.

It’s interesting though, that when we look at Scripture, we find very few details regarding the things we should get from church. Rather, we find lots of details about what we should bring to church.

Brandon Smith. We Are Gomer. (TGC)

We often compare the story of Hosea and Gomer to the story of God and Israel, and rightly so. Hosea 3:1 says:

And the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.”

The application is clear: Hosea is called to love this adulterous woman in the same way that God loves his wandering-eyed people. But looking back on the complete canon of Scripture, with the Trinity in view, we can make another comparison: Hosea and Gomer represent Christ and the church.

We are Gomer. And that is immensely comforting.

Jake Meador. The Demands of Love in Harry Potter. (MereO)

Yet for all the imprecision, chaos, and oddity that marks Hogwarts, there is an order to it, else the school wouldn’t function. But it’s the nature of that order that merits close attention. It’s not loose per se. Minerva McGonnagall, one of Rowling’s most enjoyable characters who is played by the delightful Maggie Smith in the movies, is a strict disciplinarian. And when students are given detention or some other form of punishment, it is enforced. But standing behind this order at Hogwarts is the thing Dumbledore speaks of in nearly every extended monologue Rowling gives him: love. And this love causes the school to adopt a radically different order than that of the world outside Hogwarts where the technocratic, bureaucratic Ministry of Magic rules. (Spoilers below the jump) – See more at: http://mereorthodoxy.com/demands-love-harry-potter/#sthash.UgYTKVes.dpuf

Edify

Psalm 24:8 “Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!”

“The mightier any is in the Word, the more might he will be in prayer.” William Gurnall

An All-Surpassing Fellowship by David Beaty

all-surpassing-fellowship

This review first appeared at Lifeway’s Pastors Today web-blog.

Bibliography

David P. Beaty. An All-Surpassing Fellowship: Learning from Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Communion with God. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014. 164 pp. $15.00.

Category

Biography

Summary

Would you like a stimulus to jump-start your urgency for evangelism and fervency for personal communion with God? If so, then you should check out An All-Surpassing Fellowship, David Beaty’s concise biography on Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s life. This 150 pager will whet your appetite on the above subjects as you glimpse the life of one of the most remarkable young men to pastor in Scotland during the Mid-Nineteenth century.

Plagued with chronic health problems, while ultimately dying at the youthful age of twenty-nine, Robert Murray M’Cheyne lived each day as his last. Earnestness characterizes this man’s disposition. With a deep urgency to evangelize, M’Cheyne sincerely agonized over the lost souls of his sheep at St. Peter’s Church in Dundee. He is known to have said to those who were bothered by this urgency, “You will not thank us in eternity for rocking your cradle and lulling you asleep over the pit of hell” (91). Earnest, somber, and serious indeed describe M’Cheyne.

It may come as a surprise to you, but the subject of this biography was no celebrity pastor. He was no traveling itinerant revivalist or evangelist like George Whitefield or Billy Graham. In fact, M’Cheyne actually pastored in the shadow of his peer, W. C. Burns, who was more like the above. Yet, M’Cheyne did so without envy, resentment, or any of the other unbecoming characteristics that might typify one in those circumstances (45).

Beaty says this about him, “M’Cheyne’s influence did not come about because of the revival that shook both the church he pastored and his country of Scotland. Nor has it continued primarily because of his biblical, evangelistic sermons. Rather, M’Cheyne’s enduring influence flows from the depth and vibrancy of his walk with God” (2).

Without getting into too much detail and stealing the thunder of An All-Surpassing Fellowship, I will say that much credit may rightly be given to Andrew Bonar who wrote and edited an account of Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s life. In this work, Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, we have a very personal account of M’Cheyne’s earnestness, eternal perspective, and spiritual communion with God.

To some degree, An All-Surpassing Fellowship is a synopsis and commentary of Bonar’s work, while integrating all the other extant writings about M’Cheyne and honing in on M’Cheyne’s spiritual life. An All-Surpassing Fellowship consists of three parts. Part one is the life of M’Cheyne broken into five chapters. Part two zooms into M’Cheyne’s communion with God in another five chapters. Finally, part three comments and exegetes what today’s pastor may learn from M’Cheyne’s communion with God, likewise in five chapters.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

In a previous review, I emphasized the significance of reading pastoral biographies for your heart and ministry. Allow me to reiterate this point. Reading a few biographies a year, or at least one, will expand your appreciation for your calling, give you encouraging glimpses of history, and possibly help you discover a kindred spirit – one from which you might continue to learn. It’s not uncommon to read a biography and then go on to read from the works or sermons of that person. I’ve done this a number of times.

Knowing that not all biographical sketches resonate with all people, having access to a concise primer on an individual, one such as An All-Surpassing Fellowship by David Beaty, helps readers discern whether they might wish to dig much deeper on this person.

Rather than attempting to be another exhaustive account like Bonar’s, which is both biography and a collection of quotes and writings from both M’Cheyne’s diary and sermons, Beaty studies a particular facet of M’Cheyne’s life that in turn serves as a lesson for pastoral ministry. This is the noteworthy component of An All-Surpassing Fellowship.

It’s been said that a pastor’s private life is as important if not more important than his public life. M’Cheyne’s story demonstrates how this is the case. You see, pastors can turn anything into idolatry: prayer, bible study, evangelism, and preaching preparation may be counted among those idols. All of which, may be used as a formula for a successful fruitful ministry rather than the instruments of fellowship with God. We should soberly listen to Beaty’s comment concerning M’Cheyne’s devotional life: “People seek discipline in their devotional lives for varied reasons. Some want more biblical knowledge. Others seek peace for the day ahead. But for M’Cheyne, it was love of God that compelled him to spend time with his Lord” (56). This should drive our fellowship with him as well.

I feel like I read a lot of excellent books. Quite honestly, I am picky about what I read and review. My goal is to put the best writing, most compelling story, and spiritually engaging books in front of my eyes and others. That said, the most thought provoking and introspective writing I’ve read since I began reviewing on this site may very well have come from M’Cheyne’s hand as it has been packaged by Beaty. 

Rating

Essential            Recommended            Helpful            Pass It By

Recommendation

An All-Surpassing Fellowship compels pastors to consider the urgency of evangelism and the fleeting nature of life.

10 Insights for Pastors from An All-Surpassing Fellowship by David P. Beaty

all-surpassing-fellowshipConcise biographies are an incredible resource for busy pastors who are looking for a kindred spirit to learn from. I’ve had the joy of spending the last week with David Beaty’s study, An All-Surpassing Fellowship, which details Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s life and communion with God. Over at Lifeway’s Pastors Today web-blog, you may read my review of An All-Surpassing Fellowship.

Here I thought I’d share ten insights for pastors from Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s approach to ministry and his fellowship with God:

1. Pastors need kindred friends.

In addition to learning under the influence of books and professors, M’Cheyne experienced the joy of fellowship with like-minded friends during his preparation for ministry. These included his childhood friend, Alexander Somerville, and Andrew and Horatius Bonar. (14)

2. Preachers should preach with gratitude and humility for the honor to exposit the Word.

His sense of gratitude for the privilege of preaching the gospel was joined with an awareness of the need for deep humility on the part of those who preach. (15)

3. God leaves no room for competition in pastoral ministry. He wins it all for his glory, so pastors shouldn’t compete with one another. This is learned from M’Cheyne’s response to the Holy Spirit’s work of revival through the preaching of W. C. Burns interim ministry at St. Peter’s Church in Dundee, while M’Cheyne was away on a mission to Jerusalem.

Remarkably, there seems to have been no jealousy whatsoever between M’Cheyne and Burns…Andrew Bonar writes of M’Cheyne’s attitude during this time: “But Mr. M’Cheyne had received from the Lord a holy disinteredness that suppressed every feeling of envy. Many wondered at the single-heartedness he was able to exhibit. He could sincerely say, ‘I have no desire but the salvation of my people, by whatever instrument.'”…W. C. Burns continued to preach throughout Scotland, and the revival seen in Kilsyth and Dundee spread to other towns. (45)

4. Personal communion with God is of first importance for a pastor as he prepares to do God’s work.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne believed there was no greater privilege in life than communion with God. His desire for all-surpassing fellowship with the Lord determined how he spent his time during his few years on earth. (55)

People seek discipline in their devotional lives for varied reasons. Some want more biblical knowledge. Others seek peace for the day ahead. But for M’Cheyne, it was love for God that compelled him to spend time with his Lord. (56)

5. The communion with God through the Word should pour over into the lives of a pastor’s congregation.

M’Cheyne’s love for God was expressed in love for His Word, and he viewed God’s Word as an instrument that conveyed God’s love to him. (59)

But M’Cheyne’s greatest hope for his church was that they would come to know the benefits of God’s Word as he had. (61).

6. Prayer is a pastoral privilege to fellowship with God as he appeals for the Lord to be at work amongst God’s people.

But if we focus only on the need for answers to prayer, we will miss much of the privilege God has given us in prayer. (65)

While M’Cheyne understood the privilege of prayer as fellowship with God, he did not underestimate its immense value in furthering the work of God’s kingdom. In fact, M’Cheyne viewed prayer as the first and most important work in advancing God’s purposes. (66-67)

7. Personal holiness is not only a necessary pursuit but a joyful pursuit for communion with God.

An essential part of Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s communion with God was his ongoing pursuit of holiness. His desire to be made more holy was not a legalistic quest to be assured of his salvation. Rather, knowing that he had been freely justified by faith in Christ resulted in love that led to holiness. (75)

M’Cheyne himself made what we might call “resolutions,” but he termed his quest for greater sanctification “Reformation.” (76)

In his Reformation he wrote, “I am persuaded that God’s happiness is inseperably linked in with his holiness. Holiness and happiness are like light and heat…” (79)

8. Pastors should live every day with eternal perspective that fuels evangelistic urgency.

His motto accompanied the seal with the simple words: “The night cometh.” … M’Cheyne’s eternal perspective gave an urgency to his work for the Lord. (85)

To those who were bothered by his urgency, he said, “You will not thank us in eternity for rocking your cradle and lulling you asleep over the pit of hell.” (91)

9. The Holy Spirit is the power of the mission and none other.

A notable result of Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s close communion with God was the power of the Holy Spirit that was evident in his life. (95)

M’Cheyne was able to speak to his members about the role of the Holy Spirit with an authority born of his own experience. (97)

10. Pastors should be passionate about communing with God.

Communion with God was not an obligation for M’Cheyne. It was a passion. He believe that fellowship with his Lord was a gift, and one to be cherished. He said “…Covet earnestly the best gifts.” (101)

These ten insights are gleaned from the first two parts of David Beaty’s, An-All Surpassing Fellowship. I didn’t say this in my review but part three is a wonderful integration of application and theological exploration about a pastor’s communion with God. Beaty leverages observations from present day theologians like J. I. Packer, D. A. Carson, and others.

This book is a worthy addition to your library and a quick read. I encourage you to get it!

View-Worthy: 1.23.15

Preview

Mocking Prolife Marchers, Types of Fundies & Evang., Election, When We’re Prayerless.

Headliner

Matthew Schmitz. Methodist Head of “Human Rights” Mocks Prolife Marchers. (First Things)

The “Director of Civil and Human Rights” for the United Methodist Church, Bill Mefford, posted a picture to Twitter yesterday mocking the pro-life marchers. Mefford, who works for the Church’s lobby arm, the General Board of Church and Society, ridiculed the marchers by posting a picture of himself standing before them with a sign saying “I march for sandwiches.”

Deal of the Day

Jesus on Every Page by David Murray $1.99

Book Review

J. A. Medders. Gospel Formed. Reviewed by Mike Boling. (SoG)

Links

Justin Taylor. 3 Types of Fundamentalists and Evangelicals After 1956.

Yesterday I linked to an address by David Dockery on the state of evangelicalism in the 21st century.

On Twitter, I highlighted the somewhat tongue-in-cheek definitions from Dr. Dockery:

In its most simple terms,

an evangelical is someone who likes Billy Graham;
liberal is someone who thinks Billy Graham is a fundamentalist; and
fundamentalist is someone who thinks Billy Graham is apostate.

Anthony Carter. Election: Unconditional, Eternal, and Loving. (Ligonier)

To understand election is to see it as the act of a sovereign, gracious, eternally loving God. It is a demonstration of His desire to be in a faithful covenantal relationship with a people. Though knowing these people to be disobedient, sinful, and wayward, He chooses to set His affection on them so as to show and exalt His love and mercy throughout eternity. Consequently, divine election has three important elements…

Jon Bloom. What to Do When We’re Prayerless. (DG)

Prayerlessness is not fundamentally a discipline problem. At root it’s a faith problem.

Edify

1 Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

“The Scriptures teach us the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering and the most comfortable way of dying.” John Flavel

Send Him on His Way: Sons and Vocation

Hint: Yesterdays article focused on daughters. Todays focuses on sons. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take all this stuff here and apply it to your daughter. Everything below I’ve done with my two daughters as well.

Hammers, saws, guitars, drums, stethoscopes, and Bibles are all things my son sneaks into his backpack to take to preschool. They are his go to pay items: I mean, besides Iron Man, Captain America, Spiderman, Tigger, and Pluto.

And almost every day he tells me one of three things. I want to be at Grandpa and Grandmas. I want to be at Disney World. Or I want to be…Handy Manny, a doctor, a guitar player, or a pastor.

I guess this could go any number of ways. He could do a combo of doctor and handy man and be a surgeon. I’ve suggested that. He’s got a really steady hand, but he doesn’t like the idea of cutting into flesh. I’ve suggested a worship pastor. He’s still trying to wrap his brain around what that is. He is only three after all.

No matter what he does, I’m going to be super proud of him. Why? Because he’s my son. You know what I mean.

As I think about helping your son figure out his vocation — I can’t help but think that it doesn’t matter how young they are — they’re never too young to coach them and help think through what they love to do and what they might do for a lifetime.

Here’s a few things I’ve done with my three year old boy.

1. Take him to work.

Remember take your kid to work day. I do. I loved doing this with my dad. A couple times a year, I’ve taken Asher with me on a road trip of meetings. Last year we went to Evanston to meet our churches church planter there. This year I took him on a tour of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and to meet a friend of mine in Libertyville that also is interested in church planting. Both times were a lot of fun for the two of us. He loved being with dad for a day, and everyone we met loved seeing him. It was fun.

2. Encourage him with his interests.

Is your son interested in tools, musical instrument, books, planes? Whatever he is interested in make sure to reinforce it by giving him access to play, imagine, create with those things. Let his excitement grow and see what stuff he holds interest and what stuff he loses interest in. It’s entertaining to see the cycles, to see what enflames their interests, and help them manage the feeling when interest wanes.

3. Show him the opportunities.

When your son develops interest in a new hobby or has a new idea about a vocation, find ways to open up his world to that hobby or vocation. Look for YouTube videos or shows that talk about that vocation or hobby. Take him to see and meet real people doing that work. When you’re driving and he sees a firetruck, dump truck, train, or plane, go vocation chasing with him. And if he wants to be a storm chaser, use caution my friend. Don’t get too close to a twister.

And don’t forget to expand his world on vocations. Show him about space because we’re going to Mars now and we need more pilots to get us all there. Help him see the power of computers, engineering, the sciences, and the arts. Take him to museums, the zoo, amusement parks, and sporting venues. A lot of these things you might already be doing. Just do them and plant seeds as you do. Ask questions about his interest or what he thinks about the profession or event. Find out what sparks his interest more.

Proverbs 22:6 and Vocation

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Your role as a dad is helping your children in the way that they should go. Yes, altogether too often this text is compartmentalized to the aspect of vocation. That is grievous. This verse is about so much more than vocation. It’s about being a son of God, a husband, a father, and a worker. It’s a holistic verse that covers all of life.

Nonetheless, it is not that it has nothing to do with vocation either. This verse critically point to the role of a parent to love his or her children and raise them to honor God and his or her family. That includes finding a vocation and following the call of that vocation.